Virgin Orbit

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Virgin Orbit
Private
IndustryAerospace
PredecessorVirgin Galactic
FoundedMarch 2, 2017; 3 years ago (2017-03-02)
Headquarters,
United States
Key people
Dan Hart[1] (President and CEO)
ProductsLauncherOne
ServicesOrbital rocket launch
Owners
Number of employees
390 (2017)
Websitevirginorbit.com

Virgin Orbit is a company within the Virgin Group which plans to provide launch services for small satellites. The company was formed in 2017 to develop the air-launched LauncherOne rocket, launched from Cosmic Girl, which had previously been a project of Virgin Galactic.[2] Based in Long Beach, California, Virgin Orbit has more than 300 employees led by president Dan Hart, a former vice president of government satellite systems at Boeing.[3][4]

Virgin Orbit focuses on small satellite launch, which was one of three capabilities being focused on by Virgin Galactic. These capabilities are: human spaceflight operations, small satellite launch, and advanced aerospace design, manufacturing, and test.[5]

Vehicles[edit]

LauncherOne[edit]

Cosmic Girl[edit]

[6]

VOX Space[edit]

VOX Space is a subsidiary of Virgin Orbit that was created in the early 2020s. The company plans to supply launch services for the US military, sometimes referred to as the "national security launch market."[7] The company intends to use the Virgin Orbit LauncherOne launch vehicle.

In April 2020, VOX Space was awarded a US$35 million contract for three launches of 44 cubesats. The first launch is slated to occur no earlier than October 2021.[7][8]

Other projects[edit]

Ventilators[edit]

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, Virgin Orbit announced it was a partner in a new venture to build comparatively low-grade mechanical ventilators (breathing machines) -- specifically "bridge ventilators" for partially recovered patients and patients not in intensive care—to address the critical global shortage of mechanical ventilators during the pandemic. To develop and produce them, Virgin Global—with the University of California Irvine and the University of Texas at Austin—formed the Bridge Ventilator Consortium. They had a prototype awaiting approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in March, and hoped to begin production in April.[9][10][11]

Personnel[edit]

In October 2019, Virgin Orbit announced that Matthew Stannard was joining as a pilot on a three-year contract. Stannard had previously served in the Royal Air Force as a test and evaluation pilot notably on Typhoon jets. Orbit is about to start testing of its Cosmic Girl launch platform.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fernholz, Tim (June 13, 2017). "Virgin Orbit's newly-minted CEO will use psychology to launch satellites faster than anyone else". Quartz. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  2. ^ Irene Klotz (2 March 2017). "Virgin Galactic Unveils Spin-Off Virgin Orbit for Small-Satellite Launches". Space.com.
  3. ^ Davenport, Christian (March 2, 2017). "Richard Branson starting a new venture dedicated to launching small satellites into space". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  4. ^ "Virgin Galactic Makes Satellite Launch Service New Company". U.S. News & World Report. Associated Press. March 2, 2017. Retrieved 2017-03-08.
  5. ^ "Welcome, Virgin Orbit!". Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic. Archived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  6. ^ Empire State.
  7. ^ a b Erwin, Sandra (10 April 2019). SpaceNews https://spacenews.com/virgin-orbits-vox-space-wins-35-million-u-s-space-force-launch-contract/. Retrieved 11 April 2019. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2020/04/launcherone-wins-three-dedicated-smallsat-missions/
  9. ^ "Virgin Orbit designs new ventilator as part of Virgin Group's efforts to combat coronavirus," March, 2020, Space.com, retrieved April 2, 2020
  10. ^ "Coronavirus: Companies are helping meet shortages of ventilators, gowns, and more," March, 2020, Business Insider, retrieved April 2, 2020.
  11. ^ "Branson's Virgin Orbit to begin coronavirus ventilator mass production," March 30, 2020, NBC News, retrieved April 2, 2020.
  12. ^ Virgin Orbit selects RAF pilot as it plans satellite launch program, Ed Adamczyk, SpaceDaily, 2019-10-04

External links[edit]